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Glick's Chickens

Tiny hands reached up
inside the anal cavities
of gutted featherless corpses
fishing for eggs;
made them talk like puppets
by maneuvering speechless beaks
throwing our voices.
Little fingers lifted
sleeping eyelids
shook flimsy necks
flicked wiggly wattles
floppy combs,
pulled                apart
selfish wishbones.

For my mother, Pauline and my two sisters, Teri & Robin with love.  

31 Mar 16

Rated 10 (9.7) by 5 users.
Active (5): 9, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (4): 9, 9, 10, 10

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great poem
 — stout

love the imagery
 — aforbing

Amazingly good
 — larrylark

Its fantastic. Innocence juxtaposed with death.

12-16 gave me a chill.

Artfully rendered, one of the best I've read from you.

A subtle horror story,
Based on actual events (?)
Extremely well done.
 — PollyReg

my kid's still request super chicken when the carcass comes out...
 — tonebone

Wow. A startling read.Buffalo wings will never be the same
 — Rossant

Wow!  Thanks, every-1!!!  I've been struggling with this piece for the past week and I honestly didn't expect such high marks!  I'm glad u like it!  And Rossant, I'm gonna change my last name to Perdue!  ;-)
 — starr

Frightening and effectively pulled together from the archives of childhood.  Cannot praise it enough, mate.  
 — unknown

Thanks, unk. TOO and Polly...thank you SO MUCH 4 your sweet comment!  Didn't wanna leave u out of the mix!  <3
 — starr

Thanks Starr, Thats okay, I didn't feel excluded.

Did you change the ending? I read a few critiques of this on another website, where your previous ending was suggested as superfluous?

I like this ending, and I can see where the other reviewers were coming from...BUT, I liked the other ending better and I will tell you why.

It said:

Every single one of them dead....

Or something like that, yeah?

I liked it because it brought the poem into the present, and the narrator inserted himself, into the (ahem) narrative. I thought it drove home the horror of an adult, in the recalling, of what these innocent children were actually doing (happily playing and not realising themselves how macabre it was)

Even as a reader, we are reading along, and we already know the chickens are dead, and we are just reading a poem about it...Until the ending when the narrator reiterates it with such a blunt statement. Thats when the horror 'hit' for me anyway.

The narrative became: I was a child, now I am adult, the games over and I 'see' what we were doing. And, thus, as a reader, I was able to see the author. And the horror.

Amyway, just thoughts because you said you had been struggling. It's great either way.
 — PollyReg

Hey, Polly!  Thanks!  Yeah...someone over there said that "we already know they're dead," so that's why I went with this alternative ending.  It also captures the butcher shop with the bleeding tongues (OR the childrens' tongues in THIS case or "fresh tongues" being those of the children (using cuss words) to make the dead chickens speak.  Glad u like it!!!!  Have a nice w/e!  :-)
 — starr

What do you think sounds/works better?..."Every chicken was dead" or how it ends NOW?  Poetry writing can be SUCH a pain in the ASS!  Y'gotta get every single THING perfect or it can affect the WHOLE piece and it makes me CRAZY sometimes!  LOL!  :-O
 — starr

it's good to be that conscious, starr. more than good. it makes you smarter and makes better writing.

i do, line 2, 'reaching', because it's more actively involved, and the line isn't finished at 2.

and, i'd remove line 13's 'by' -- you've made such a point of clearing the first two stanzas of prose moves like this, that it suddenly seems like you weren't sure if we were getting the picture. we are. just a comma after 'puppets' would do it.

and, i'd drop the 'fore' in forefingers', since it's poetry and the reader will fill in the picture, if the reader can read poetry at all. just 'thumbs and fingers' works and has a kind of kid's awkardness to it that images the image.

the ending is contrived still as prose, and is weak. i think, working on your though, 'while dead tongues bled' would work -- the 'fresh' in the picture is really the kids... anything dead like a dead chicken isn't really fresh.

'dead tongues bled' might be a little heavy, and maybe, 'while silent tongues' or maybe (better, i think ) 'quiet tongues bled'...

it's a delicate thing. you're doing a naturalist poem but you want to express meaning, and as you say, any word in a poem is significant. if you wanted to go full expressionist, and have, 'dead tongues speak', you could pull it off by starting the poem with, 'back then, i was a silent six, my sisters merry -- four and two. their tiny hands reached up happy, into featherless gutted corpses, and i had to laugh... they were looking for eggs and wishbones.' -- something where you contrast the author's view against this savage little game, which is so innocent -- and, even so, your silent six your old self wasn't so innocent about it -- at least, not as innocent a your sisters... like, a six year old likes to see gnarly things.
 — cadmium

It is tighter now with the changes, I guess. Having been worked. I do miss 'kissing their rubbery heads' as well, though - that was rich in imagery, indeed.

I could see those tiny children kissing dead chickens heads, as if they were dolls. it made me shiver.

I don't think you could tag that line on the end now - it might be an unnatched parsons nose (what? yek. my aunt used to call it the parsons ballsoms , lol )

you have a nice weekend too. great poem, has been interesting to watch it evolve/
 — PollyReg

Hey, Mike!  You got me in the midst of an edit!  I just switched up S2 and S3 so I could introduce a better end rhyme without the "tongue" thing."  Polly inspired me 2 rethink it.  Also got rid of "by" and "fore."  Makes sense.  Now, I feel MUCH BETTER about the whole thing with this ending.  The tongue thing...yeah...too heavy and it wouldn't have made much sense to those whom have never shopped at a butchery.  Thanks!  :-)
 — starr

*unattached - my spelling is up the shit this morning :-)
 — PollyReg

:-)  Y'know...I kinda miss that line TOO!  See if I can't work it back in there.  Thanks again 4 reading, Polly!  
 — starr

ending now doesn't work for me. maybe an existential 1950's ending! 'death passed by on fervent rubber wheels ( carl shapiro ).

like, smart would be, 'too young to know what it's like to be a chicken' -- but, that's something else.

you've got this set-up in the last stanza: fanned out wings that wouldn't fly. and the connected thing would be to use whatever that last image/concept in that stanza as the set-up for the last line.


we were to young to fly,
or to know what it's like to die.
 — cadmium

Thanks, Mike!  I was stuck on that!  I went with it!  :-)
 — starr

Mit's a little self-indulgent, but hey, you through in the horror I'm down.
 — unknown

M.I.T.?  Used 2 deliver computer systems there back in the day.  Good times.  HUGE campus.  I'm glad u dig zee po-EM!  Nite.  :-)
 — starr

This is a repost, right?  I know I read this years ago!  
 — Isabelle5

Repost, rewrite, reimaginaed, re-FEATHERED!  You have a good mem'ry, Isabelle!  <3
 — starr

^ *reimAGINED*
 — starr

Lol reimaginated still works. Nice write. Horrific.
 — Known

Thanks, Known!  Glad u like it!  Yeah...pretty scary (now that I'm all grown UP!)  I can still see me and my two younger sisters yanking their eyelids open tellin' our mother that "They're sleeping and they won't wake UP!"  LOL!  The things we do when we're young and innocent.  I have another similar poem entitled "Recycled Roadkill and Other Dead Delights."  Check it OUT!  This time, I'm playing with a dead rat out in the back yard!  :-)
 — starr

I love it. I just, really love it. curious and playful and innocent and then the last line, just punctuates the tale. I think, I'm going to make this one a favorite.
 — bfitzgerald

Awww!  Thanks, bfitz!!!  Haven't seen u 'round here in a LONG time!  Nice 2cu, buddy and am SO GLAD u like this piece!  U just made my night!  :-) <3
 — starr

I really like the way this has come along, Starr.

I think I still liked the original better. I don't know though, I'll have a look

(I saved it. Don't worry, I delete them after they have been workshopped, its just to compare.)
 — PollyReg

Thanks, Polly!  It's been a real CHALLENGE getting this 2 where it is NOW and I finally actually like it!  The thing is (and you know this), that one little pronoun or misplaced preposition can throw the entire thing OFF, so after many finetunings, I'm hopeful you'll agree that it reads SO MUCH BETTER!  Glad u like!  :-)
 — starr

your welcome, starr.
 — PollyReg

 — PollyReg

^ :-)  Nite!  
 — starr